Sydney's Tech Central earmarked as the home of the new AU$2m national space hub

The National Space Industry Hub will be a place for industry partners and the deep tech space ecosystem to meet to help grow Australia's space sector.

Sydney's Tech Central has been named the home for the new AU$2 million National Space Industry Hub that will be established.

The hub will house both the Space Industry Association of Australia and the New South Wales node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre, and it will be operated by Sydney-based incubator Cicada Innovations.

"Housing the National Space Industry Hub will allow us to create a home for emerging space ventures in NSW. More importantly, we'll offer these resources, mentoring opportunities, and vital connections nationally through continued collaboration across the Australian space ecosystem for anyone on the path of creating a space tech venture," Cicada Innovations CEO Sally-Ann Williams said.

Williams added that through the hub, participants would have access to a whole host of services, including free online commercialisation programs, industry events, as well as on-site facilities such as secure labs, clean rooms, and prototyping facilities that can be used to advance IP-protected R&D and manufacturing.

Bringing the hub to Tech Central builds on the state government's recent AU$1.4 million investment to establish the NSW Space Research Network, a group that will also be anchored at the hub. Others that will also call Tech Central home include Atlassian, NEC, and NTT

"NSW is home to more than a third of Australian space startups, well-established research infrastructure and world-class universities. There is no better place to research, develop and commercialise space technology," Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney Stuart Ayres said.

In May, the state government charged the Australian Research Centre for Cubesats, Unscrewed Aerial Vehicles, and their Applications (CUAVA) with running project Waratah Seed, a space mission that aims to launch a "ride-share" satellite into orbit and the testing of its functionality.

Project Waratah Seed is a part of the New South Wales government's space qualification mission program, which was developed under its space industry development strategy that was launched in January 2020.

CUAVA is a consortium of NSW-based space organisations including Saber Astronautics, Delta-V, Macquarie University, University of Technology Sydney, and the University of New South Wales' Australian Centre for Space Engineering Research.

The consortium is based within the University of Sydney, and is working on developing applications of cubeSats and UAVs for earth observations, GPS, satellite communications, and space weather purposes.

The launch of project Waratah Seed follows the NSW's launch of its first node of the SmartSat Cooperative Research Centre. At the time, the state government touted the node would help lead space-related research and industry collaboration through three different grant programs. These grants were designed to fund the teaming up of industry and research, place industry staff within universities, and provide access to equipment, laboratory space, and research infrastructure.

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